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discoveries after the wedding bells

Weekend Food Choices Week 17: Our Marine Field Trip

We were invited by hubby’s childhood friend JT to a mini field trip at the Manila Ocean Park.

Hubby and i have always been curious to see Manila Bay’s oceanarium since its soft opening last year and have only held off visiting because of mixed reviews.

When we entered the grounds behind Manila Grandstand, i couldn’t help but be a little disheartened at the sight that welcomed us. Confusing signages, dirt road parking that set off dust clouds when vehicles run past, and a big non functioning fountain that served as a rotunda at the entrance to the oceanarium. None of what i saw sparked any sense of excitement to what lie ahead. And as if that wasn’t enough, i was aghast that the path that lead to the entrance of the building that housed the oceanarium was lined with kiosks selling odds and ends not at all related to the park’s theme (take note: palamig, wooden furniture, RTW, etc). This made me feel i was entering a flea market more than a state of the art ocean park.

It was just so sad and i couldn’t help but wonder if the exhibit inside was as despondent as the sight what welcomed us into the park. What were they thinking?!

Hubby and i decided that we would eat lunch before viewing the exhibit. This was our chance to taste the food at Makansutra, located at the second floor of the MOP complex.

Hubby and i couldn’t help but notice that the place looked like Food Republic in Singapore. We hoped that the food would be similar as well.

The place is set up with tables all around the open kitchen with different cuisines, each with its own cashier. For hubby and i who wanted to taste various dishes and get a good seat by the window, it was sort of an exasperating experience of one person saving a seat and the other lining for a dish then lining up again for the next and the next. So by the time we got all our food, we were two hungry and grumpy people.

These are the dishes we ordered

Roti Prata
This was good, although it was already cold when we were ready to eat after waiting in line for our other dishes.

Chicken Rice
This looked like a plate of perfectly good Hainanese Chicken Rice only it looked better than it tasted. Its not all bad, but its nothing to rave about either. The rice was flavorful but the chicken could be better. Hubby and i suddenly missed Malacca’s chicken rice.

Tom Yum
Hubby was terribly dissatisfied with this dish. Just looking at it made us want to give i back to where it came from, a tray of bowls filled with soup and scanty ingredients, lifted and transferred to your tray like the free bowl of soup you get in the canteen or food courts. Its looks did not deceive. It tasted like spicy sinigang! All the good herbs and spices that makes Tom Yum unique was no where to be appreciated! Poor hubby was so disappointed!

Pad Thai
I found the noodles of this pad thai a little under cooked. The flavor of this dish was also nothing spectacular. We’ve definitely tasted better.

Teh Tarik
At least this was good! After all how could you go wrong with milk tea?!

Hubby tried to get more shots for this blog entry
but after shooting this photo of the oyster cake being cooked, he was told taking of photos were not allowed *sad*.

With tummies filled with so so food, we headed to the exhibits

The first part of the exhibit was called Agos and showed different water creatures that live in fresh water

Agos ends with a touch pool that allows visitors to feel the starfish.

The touch pool actually had this big fish inside it and visitors were just allowed to pet the starfish in a small tub and not in the pool itself. I didn’t see any faucet where i could wash my hands after the touch pool so i decided i’d let the experience pass, less my hands end up smelling like fish for the rest of the tour.

The next exhibit was called Buhara and it showed different sea animals that can be found in the Philippine Reefs.

A small tank in this exhibit showed the unfiltered water of Manila Bay

Only barnacles and muscles thrive in the murky water.

I thought that maybe this tank could have been strategically placed on entering the exhibit to show the current state of our waters and then show the other beautiful tanks to bring across the message that this is what our waters could be like if we take care of it. Unfortunately This small tank was inconspicuously placed in the midst of the other tanks and was barely noticeable.

The next exhibit was called Laot which showcased 4 large tanks with large fishes, mostly gray and of the same species. Hubby and i were really bothered by a number of visitors who were taking pictures using their camera flash when in fact the overhead speaker asks everyone not to use flash photography so as not to cause undue stress to the fishes. No one from the oceanarium was looking after this big hall so the visitors just kept shooting with their flash, obviously not having learned to respect the fishes from the previous exhibits. I felt compelled to tell off one of the delinquents near me but hubby ushered me to the next exhibit before i could say anything.

The next exhibit was called Buhay na Karagatan. This showcased a 25 meter walk along an underwater tunnel which was so crowded and filled with screeching children that i wasn’t able to appreciate the beauty of it all. We were elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with the other visitors that hubby didn’t feel like taking any decent pictures.

The next three exhibits were Ang Kalaliman which featured the barracuda, Pangi which showcased rays through an overhanging tank and Pating a big tank that housed small sharks. By this time hubby was a little too disappointed to take anymore pictures. The tanks were big but still needed to be filled with more fishes and the crowd was too thick for a “sit and be mesmerized” moment.

An exit took us to the second floor where other park features that were not included in the entrance ticket could be found. We were not interested to add insult to injury so we decided to go. The exit took us through a restaurant and then back to Makansutra where i decided i needed something to quench my thirst and leave with at least a good memory of this place.

I ordered a Micheal Jackson
Soya milk with black gulaman

Manila Ocean Park definitely needs a lot of improvement and until then, i wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone. Thanx to JT & MT for allowing us to experience the park for free! *grin*


September 22, 2009 - Posted by | Gastronomic experience, Meandering, Weekend Food Choices | ,


  1. agree! MOP needs more improvement. actually sayang ang space nila. oh well buti nalang when we went there, it was for free. thanks to our office hehe 😉

    Comment by dyanie | September 22, 2009 | Reply

    • hi dyanie! i totally agree, sayang ang space if they don’t improve the park.
      the concept is nice, they just have to make sure they push through with all the ideas they envisioned in their web site. hopefully the final park will not be half baked.

      Comment by mrs lavendula | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. we’ve been to MOP during its soft launch and it was really disappointing to know that people behind it haven’t done any upgrading that the park deserves. sayang naman! the project could have been so promising and could be at par with HK Ocean Park (less the pandas & the cable cars) or Auckland, New Zealand’s Kelly Tarlton’s (less the penguins)…

    i also read several poor blog reviews of the food at MOP. i wish they know that there’s always room for improvement.

    btw, nice shots of those marine creatures!

    Comment by docgelo | September 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. i read that you’re one of the finalists in the phil blog awards! yey!! congratz!! woohoo!!! 🙂


    Comment by dyanie | September 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Oh wow Dyanie! thanx for letting me know! yippeee!!! *jumping up and down*

      Comment by mrs lavendula | September 24, 2009 | Reply

  4. Oh, but the new Ocean Park looks so interesting!

    Pity about the food, though. Still, milk tea is always a good choice. 😀

    Comment by Midge | September 25, 2009 | Reply

  5. the pad thai looks yummy!

    Comment by u8mypinkcookies | September 25, 2009 | Reply

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